What was striking to me this Copenhagen Fashion Summit was just how white-washed, elitist and uni-generational the event was. As climate breakdown will most severely affect the poor, the youth and people of colour, it is fundamental that we give these actors a voice. While CFS has attempted to make their summit more inclusive through introducing online streaming services, this change does not force influential stakeholders to face the real issues experienced by fashion's victims - namely exploitation. So we called b.s.
For those of you who don't know CFS is the biggest annual event pushing for increased sustainability in the fashion industry. Yet, the summit continues to indirectly exclude those who will suffer the most from climate collapse.
Keep reading for our open letter response.
Copenhagen Fashion Summit:
Thank you for sharing your concerns.
Copenhagen Fashion Summit is a non-profit event and the capacity of the venue is limited, so tickets are marketed to senior decision makers and stakeholders with the power to fundamentally alter their business strategies.
We appreciate your concerns and aim to make the Copenhagen Fashion Summit as inclusive as possible; for those who were unable to attend the event, all speeches and discussions were livestreamed online during the Summit. This livestream was free to access. We encourage you to explore the videos of the discussions of this year’s event which are available at play.copenhagenfashionsummit.com.
It is important for us to include the younger generation. Therefore, we host the Youth Fashion Summit, which provides a platform for students from across the globe to convene and voice their demands and propose solutions to the industry.
Copenhagen Fashion Summit
The Fashion Common Room:
Hello CFS Team,
Thank you for the message I appreciate you reaching out about this topic.
I am aware that the main summit is an event for senior decision makers and stakeholders. However, there are many stakeholders in this industry affected by the decisions made by those in more senior positions, who should be able to have their voices heard. As one of the major annual events in the sustainable fashion calendar, it does seem a shame that we do not see a variety of voices representing diverse interests on the main stage.
I admire what you are doing in many ways. After all, bringing global industry leaders together to push through change is imperative in the wake of climate breakdown. However, I was shocked at how elitist, one-generational and whitewashed the main summit appeared this year especially considering that lack of sustainability in the industry is most likely to affect the poor, the youth and people of colour in the global south.
I admire that you have introduced live streaming as a feature for those who cannot attend the event. However, this feature does not address the severe diversity issue apparent at the summit. The fact that the tickets are 500 euros and that concessions are not available seems like a real barrier to diversity and inclusion in the sustainability conversation and looking at the list of speakers attending the event this year the effects were more visible than ever.
I humbly hope that you take these concerns into consideration as after all, it is only when we take a multi-dimensional approach working across class, racial and generational hierarchies that we will see real change.
Ella, The Fashion Common Room
This was the last we heard.
When we create spaces for dialogue, we can strive towards achieving a just transition where none of the Earth's citizens are left behind. We humbly hope that Copenhagen Fashion Summit consider our representation concerns to ensure that vulnerable stakeholders can have their voices heard.
Love and solidarity